Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Sorrow and joy

What a bittersweet day.

Derrick's 89-year-old paternal grandfather (Paw Paw) fell and broke his hip a few days ago. After surgery, they've now found he has two abcesses in his colon, which would need two surgeries that his body is not strong enough for. The doctors have said he has 6 days to 6 weeks to live, and they are giving "comfort care" now.
For the past few days Derrick has been spending time at the hospital, sitting at his Paw Paw's bedside, giving his Oma a chance to go home to shower.

Today Derrick texted he was heading over to the hospital and "you're welcome to come up there if you want", so of course I wanted to support him however I could.

Paw Paw was sitting up in his chair and asked, "How was your trip out West?" when Derrick asked him if he remembered me. That was the most alert I heard him all day. We sat with Derrick's Aunt Kary and quietly chatted as Paw Paw went in and out of sleep. Kary suggested Derrick rub Paw Paw's neck, because he had complained about a pain. It was sweet to watch Derrick gently take care of his grandpa.

He was not pleased that I took a picture, he said it wasn't the right time for that. I told him I disagreed. From a completely respectful stance, from someone who appreciates documentation of family/personal history, I disagreed.

It was sweet to watch Oma kiss Paw Paw's head, rub his hand and ask what she could do for him. I never had that experience with my grandparents. I never had to watch them see their spouse's life slowly come to an end. My paternal grandpa passed years before I was born, my maternal grandpa passed from a horseback riding accident, my paternal grandma passed from cancer when I was 18, and my maternal grandma passed a month ago.

Oma: "It's all part of the plan. Birth and death and sorrow and joy." She hugged me tight before I left, before she made up her bed on the couch in the hospital room. When I looked at her as we were walking out she had pain on her face for the first time, tears in her eyes. My heart broke a little bit in that moment. She gave me a half-smile and a small knowing nod and said goodnight.

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